CORK City manager, Neale Fenn, says his squad still believe in themselves, despite having lost four of the five games they have played in this season’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
They lost 1-0 to St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park last Friday night, a Billy King goal being the difference. They have also lost 1-0 to Pat’s and Shelbourne, 6-0 to Shamrock Rovers, and 3-0 to Dundalk.
The only exception was the 1-0 triumph at home to Finn Harps last Friday week, but Fenn sees improvements in the performances from game to game and doesn’t have any concerns about lifting the team ahead of Friday’s clash at home to Bohemians.
“We have to, don’t we?” he said. “We have to put these results behind us. I think it’s clear that this was an improvement on our last couple of away games.
“Every week, we just continue to improve and I felt that, for a lot of the game on Friday, we were okay.
“It certainly didn’t look like we were going to be well-beaten, like against Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk. People might not want to hear that we’re coming to St Pat’s and thinking that losing is a good result, because it’s not, but we’re looking at small steps and improving every week,” Fenn said.
Winger Deshane Dalling will be back on Friday. He was suspended for the Pat’s game after his red
card against Shamrock Rovers, but against Harps he was City’s brightest performer and hit the post with a shot from outside the area.
Unfortunately for City, putting the ball in the net has been a big problem: in the five games, they have scored just one goal scored, Alec Byrne’s header from a corner against Harps, and have conceded 11.
An injury to Conor Davis, who signed from Derry City in the off-season and was given number nine as an indication of his status as first-choice centre-forward, has meant some flux at the tip of the attack, with Reyon Dillon, Dylan McGlade, and Beineón O’Brien-Whitmarsh all starting as the central striker.
With such a new team, forging partnerships is going to be difficult. However, after Friday’s game, Fenn made it clear that ‘time to get adjusted’ can no longer be used as an excuse.
And, in any case, small margins come into play: had Dillon headed his late chance into the net to equalise, rather than it go over the bar, we would be talking about a battling draw away from home.
The negative goal-difference looks worse because of the results against last season’s top two — and they played 45 minutes with ten men against Rovers — and the collective defending has improved since then.
Bohs will present a tough test, coming in off the back of a win over Shelbourne last week. However, the hope will be that City’s incremental improvement can continue.